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Chester Zoo announces ambitious sustainable heating partnership

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Chester Zoo has announced a strategic partnership with heat pump manufacturer, Mitsubishi Electric, to decarbonise heating across its not-for-profit conservation zoo in Cheshire as part of its drive to reach net zero.

The partnership, which was announced by TV presenter and Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan brand ambassador George Clarke earlier this week, will see experts work with the zoo’s facilities and design teams to keep animals – like Chester Zoo’s critically endangered Eastern Black Rhinos (pictured above) – warm. They will also provide heating, cooling and ventilation equipment in other buildings across the 128-acre site while reducing the charity’s carbon emissions. 

Chester Zoo is a world-leading conservation and education charity that’s committed to preventing extinction and dedicated to raising awareness of conservation and environmental challenges. The zoo is aiming to be net zero in its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and net zero in its scope 3 emissions by 2050 at the latest. As part of this, it is actively working to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Each of its buildings have very different requirements, based on their use, including the animals and species cared for in them.

Jennifer Kelly, Head of Sustainability at Chester Zoo, explains:

“Right now we’re facing a global biodiversity and climate crisis. The time for action is now. That’s why it’s vitally important that, as a conservation charity that’s working to prevent the extinction of species worldwide, we lift our focus on sustainability to new heights. We know that we can’t be part of the problem that we’re trying to solve, and that’s where partnerships on sustainability are so important; collaborating to showcase best practice and inspiring others to act.”

“Mitsubishi Electric is helping us understand the decarbonisation potential on buildings across on our site to help us meet our net zero targets. We’re proud to be leading the way on sustainability and inspiring others to do the same – the future of our planet depends on it.”

The partnership was developed following two successful projects utilising Mitsubishi Electric’s equipment. The first involved air source heat pumps, air conditioning and ventilation installed in the zoo’s new conference and events venue, The Square. The second saw one of its rhino habitats, home to the critically endangered Eastern Black Rhinos, heated by six Ecodan air source heat pumps, which are manufactured in Scotland.

“We need to keep our indoor rhino habitat temperatures between 18 and 24 degrees, but their home has big open doors, allowing the animals free movement to their outdoor habitat, which can lead to significant heat loss. The air source heat pump solution deployed shows the potential for heat pumps to be successful in challenging and unique environments,” added Jennifer.

While announcing the partnership TV personality George Clarke shared his view on the use of heat pumps, saying:

“I’ve been talking for years about the power and versatility of heat pumps for different living environments. The air source heat pumps deployed at Chester Zoo demonstrate what’s possible and show that if heat pumps can work in our rhino habitats, they can work in residential and wider settings too!”

Chris Newman, Net Zero Design Manager at Mitsubishi Electric, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be working with Chester Zoo as a key sustainability Partner, and we see so many synergies with their ethos, especially on the sustainability and educational fronts.

“We’re working with the zoo’s facilities teams to reduce carbon emissions and deliver energy efficient comfort across a diverse range of buildings with internal climates from African savannahs to South American rainforests, which shows beyond doubt that there is a renewable solution that can help all of us get to net zero.”

Opened in 1931 Chester Zoo is one of the UK’s largest zoos. The 128-acre site is home to more than 37,000 animals and more than 500 species, with its’ experts recognised by governments and NGOs across the world as leaders within the global conservation community.

As a not-for-profit organisation, the zoo ploughs everything into its conservation mission, both in the UK and around the world and works with more than 3,000 species globally, including hundreds of international animal conservation breeding and habitat programmes, which are ensuring the survival of species on the very brink of extinction. More information on the important conservation work being carried out can be found on the zoo’s website


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